Review & Recipe: PureFood Plant-Based Protein

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Anyone who has been plant-based for any length of time has had the “where do you get your protein” question come up more than once or twice. Protein remains a hot topic despite the fact that, unless you’re trying to subsist on salad, it’s not hard to get all the protein that you need on a vegan diet.

The RDA for protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight for the average person with an average activity level, though the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine adds that athletes and bodybuilders may need anywhere between 1.2g and 1.7g/kg. Still, when you’re more active, you eat more food and get more protein by default. The Vegan RD notes that consuming a plant-based diet that includes adequate amounts of protein-dense foods such as beans should deliver about 9 to 12 percent of calories from protein, more than enough for a healthy adult.

The key word here is “healthy.” There are cases when it’s entirely possible to be consuming enough protein but not utilizing it the right way. Certain digestive conditions including low hydrochloric acid and leaky gut syndrome can cause the body to not break down proteins correctly or to react to them in the same way as allergens. People with malabsorption problems have difficulty getting nutrients in general. I’ve heard it said that you aren’t so much what you eat as what you assimilate, and if you’re not assimilating the proteins you take in, you could wind up with symptoms of protein deficiency.

Even if you are generally healthy, there are times when it’s helpful to have a protein boost. If you’re traveling and can’t eat what you should, for example, or if you’re out doing something seriously active all day and are dying for a nutrient-dense snack. My own case is also a good illustraion. I’m rather underweight for my height but am also extremely active. Some days it can be hard to get all the calories I need to maintain my weight, much less put weight on. That’s where supplemental protein comes in handy. Protein powders give me a way to add calories without adding bulk. Extra protein can also be helpful for people who are recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It provides the building blocks that their body needs for recovery in a form that’s easy to digest and assimilate. The problem is, so many protein powders out there are either not vegan or are full of junk.

Not so with PureFood Probiotic Plant Protein.

purefood outside

Unlike many other vegan protein powders, PureFood only contains food. I can’t tell you how many times that my taste buds have been sent through the ceiling by a sickeningly sweet protein powder or one with a ton of salt in it. All you’ll find in a bag of PureFood is:

  • Brown rice protein
  • Pea protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Mesquite powder protein
  • Coconut powder
  • Whole leaf stevia powder
  • GanedenBC30 probiotic

Every ingredient is organic and non-GMO, and the mix is 100 percent vegan as well as being free of soy, gluten and corn. No protein isolates, no artificial anything and no processed sweeteners. Even the stevia is actual ground stevia leaves! PureFood offers an in-depth explanation of each ingredient on their website.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll just touch on the probiotic for a moment. It’s a stable, allergen-free probiotic that’s meant to survive many different kinds of conditions so that it winds up in your digestive tracts where it belongs. Probiotics are great for anyone who has digestive difficulties, people on antibiotics and people recovering from digestive illnesses. They boost good digestive bacteria so that your GI system runs more efficiently and–here’s that word again–you’re better able to assimilate nutrients from the foods that you eat. So when you add a serving of PureFood to a smoothie or a snack, you’re more likely to actually get and use the 21 grams of plant-based protein that it offers.

I first tried PureFood in place of the chocolate chips in a chickpea-based “raw cookie dough” recipe. It was pretty hard to tell that I’d added a protein powder, especially since PureFood has a very light, smooth texture. The sweetness is light as well, which I like. I have a serious aversion to protein powders that taste like milkshake mixes! When used in a smoothie, this powder has a slight chocolate taste but is on the earthy side overall. The only frozen fruit I had to make my smoothie with was berries, which didn’t go very well, but if you blended it up with a banana and some nut butter it would be quite fabulous.

Unfortunately, my digestive system has disliked every single protein shake I’ve ever ingested, so I had to abandon the idea of trying a different smoothie recipe and stick with putting PureFood in regular foods instead. I used it in some baked oat cakes and, as you’ll see below, a post-workout oatmeal bowl, both of which tasted extremely good. The powder is so smooth that it just about disappears into whatever you use it in, making it great for smoothies (if you get along with them), baking or raw desserts.

purefood on the porch
I’d feel comfortable recommending PureFood to a friends and clients, which is saying something considering that I’m very careful about recommending extra protein. However, if I felt that it was necessary for someone to add a protein powder to their diet, this one would definitely be high on my “go-to” list. It’s smooth, it’s tasty and it’s extremely versatile. If you’re looking for something to add to your post-workout shakes or take with you on your next outdoor adventure, I encourage you to give PureFood a try.

PureFood isn’t available just yet–they’re busy hand-mixing the first production run–but you can sign up on the website to be notified when it goes on sale. For every bag you buy, PureFood will donate five meals to needy families through Feeding America.

That’s something I can really get behind. I know that God has blessed me with the financial security to afford the foods that I want to eat, when I want to eat them and has placed me in an area where healthy foods are readily available. For those who don’t have such access, organizations like Feeding America are God’s blessing. Companies like PureFood who give back make it possible for everyone, regardless of where they live or how much money they have, to eat well.

Another great thing about PureFood? When you get your hands on a bag, you can try the recipe for Post-Workout PureFood Oatmeal!

purefood protein oatmeal
As I mentioned, protein shakes and I don’t really get along, so if I want a protein boost after working out, I need another way to incorporate products like PureFood. Protein oatmeal, an idea inspired by a recipe from The Blissful Chef, is a tasty way to do that.

Here I’ve combined the PureFood with almond butter, raisins and chopped apples for a smooth, tasty breakfast that’s quite satisfying after a session of lifting. This makes a rather large bowl of oatmeal–around 500 calories’ worth with everything mixed in–so if it’s too much for you all at once, just decrease the amount of oats or save the leftovers for a snack!

Post-Workout PureFood Oatmeal
 
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If protein shakes aren't your thing, try this delicious way to incorporate PureFood into your day! Makes a great post-workout meal.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-2Tbsp raisins
  • 1 medium-sized apple, cored and chopped
  • ½ Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 17g PureFood Probiotic Plant Protein (1/2 serving)
  • ground cinnamon for serving, optional
Instructions
  1. Place the oats, water, cinnamon stick, raisins and apples in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the cover and stir in the almond butter and PureFood. Return to a simmer if necessary and simmer, covered, until the oats and apples are tender, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve immediately, topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon if desired.
Do you use supplemental protein? Why/why not?

About The Author

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a member of Toastmasters International and currently serves as part of the Capital View Toastmasters club. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read, play silly card games and knit socks.

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